Face coverings now required in Delaware public settings

Children 2 and younger should not wear masks due to suffocation risk
April 25, 2020

Gov. John Carney on April 25 issued the 13th modification to his state of emergency declaration, requiring Delawareans to wear face coverings in public settings, including grocery stores, convenience stores, pharmacies, doctor's offices and on public transportation.

Carney's order does not require children age 12 or younger to wear face coverings. Any child 2 years old or younger must not wear a face covering, due to the risk of suffocation. The modified order is effective 8 a.m., Tuesday, April 28. 

“Now is not the time for Delawareans to get complacent,” said Carney. “We face a very serious situation, with additional cases of COVID-19 and hospitalizations statewide. All of our actions are guided by science and intended to save lives. Wearing a face covering in public settings is important to prevent transmission of this disease. But wearing a face covering is not permission to go out in public more often. Delawareans should stay home unless it's absolutely necessary to go out for essential work or essential items. Don't go out in public unnecessarily. You will only increase your risk, and the risk to your family, friends, and neighbors.”

Under Carney's modified order, businesses must also take certain steps to keep their employees and customers safe.

By 8 a.m., Friday, May 1, businesses must:

• Require employees to wear a face covering while working in areas open to the public and in areas where coming within six feet of other staff is likely.

• Provide, at the business's expense, face coverings and hand sanitizer for their employees.

• Deny entry to individuals who do not have a face covering or if one is not available for them.

• If any business denying entry is providing medication, medical supplies, or food, the business must provide alternate methods of pickup or delivery.

Delawareans are urged to use cloth face coverings and reserve medical-grade masks for use by healthcare workers and first responders. Medical-grade masks include N95, KN95, surgical, or other masks that would be appropriate for a healthcare setting.

Delawareans wearing face coverings should practice strict hand-washing before and after touching the face covering, according to the Delaware Division of Public Health. Face coverings are not a replacement for washing hands, practicing physical distancing, and staying home. Delawareans who are sick should wear a face covering over their nose and mouth if they must be around other people, even while at home.

“Wearing a face covering is not a substitute for existing guidance around hand-washing and social distancing,” said Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of the Delaware Division of Public Health. “Delawareans should stay at home whenever possible, only leaving for essential activities. Wash your hands. Keep 6 to 10 feet between yourself and others.”

Carney's state of emergency declaration has the full force and effect of law. The stay-at-home order and mandatory quarantine for out-of-state travelers remain in place. Violations of the emergency order, or any of its modifications, constitute a criminal offense.

Delawareans with questions about COVID-19 related to medical or social service needs should call 2-1-1, or 7-1-1 for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Friday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends. Questions may also be submitted by email to

DPH will continue to update the public as more information becomes available. For the latest on Delaware’s response, go to  


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